Saturday, May 22, 2010

a kettle fixed with wood...

Henrique Chaudon sent a photo of his kettle that he repaired with a wooden handle to replace one broken, thus allowing a much used pot even greater use. As Henrique knows, there is satisfaction in using old things as they tell us the history of ourselves. There is great power in the fixing of things... It tells us of our future and our potential as human beings. I offer the following to Henrique in celebration of a kettle with new life:
"We are surrounded by things, and we are surrounded by history. But too seldom do we use the artifacts that make up our environment to understand the past. Too seldom do we try to read objects as we read books - to understand the people and times that created them, used them, and discarded them."
from History From Things: Essays on Material Culture edited by Steven Lubar and W David Kingery. In this case the artifact was not discarded, however, but fixed, and in the fixing of things, a new chapter is written, much more fulfilling and personal than the last.

Also for Henrique, this poem is celebration of a job well done.
Things men have made with wakened hands, and put
soft life into
are awake through years with transferred touch, and go
on glowing
for long years.
And for this reason, some old things are lovely
Warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.

D.H. Lawrence
Last night, Alan Lacer, woodturner, came to dinner while passing through between demonstrations. As a past president of the American Association of Woodturners and the husband of the executive director, Mary Lacer, he has a strong interest in woodworking education, and his visit was a good opportunity to discuss hands-on learning. There is a growing chorus of concern about what we are doing to our children, a the persistent question, "How do we restore hands-on learning for all our nation's children?" Woodturning will most certainly need to be part of the answer.
A turned box by Alan Lacer.

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